Edward Waters University (EWU) recently commemorated its Founder’s Day Convocation with a stirring address by esteemed alumnus Gustavo Guzman, who was honored as the 2024 Vystar Duval County Teacher of the Year. Held on April 10th, 2024, the event served as a poignant reminder of the University’s rich heritage and enduring commitment to academic excellence and community engagement.

Mr. Malachi Beyah, President of the National Alumni Association for EWU, expressed his pride in witnessing the overwhelming response of students to Mr. Guzman’s address. Seeing the auditorium filled with eager faces reaffirmed to Beyah the enduring impact of an EWU education. For Beyah, witnessing the students’ engagement and enthusiasm served as a powerful reminder of the transformative journey that each Tiger undertakes, and the responsibility of alumni like himself to support and uplift the next generation.

“I am deeply proud to witness the vibrant spirit of community and dedication showcased at this year’s Founder’s Day Convocation,” Beyah said. “Our alumni stand as living testaments to the transformative power of an EWU education, and events like these reaffirm our commitment to upholding the values and traditions that bind us together.”

During the convocation, attendees were treated to a moving performance by the University choir, led by Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Shingles, whose harmonious melodies resonated throughout the auditorium, filling hearts with pride and reverence. Students were visibly moved by Gustavo Guzman’s keynote address, hanging onto his every word as he shared anecdotes from his time at EWU and imparted words of wisdom and inspiration. He left a lasting impact on all those in attendance, inspiring them to strive for greatness in their own endeavors.

Guzman said, “It is truly humbling to return to my alma mater as the keynote speaker for this year’s Founder’s Day. Edward Waters holds a special place in my heart, shaping not just my academic journey but also instilling in me the values of service, leadership, and excellence. I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to inspire and uplift the next generation of Tigers, reflecting on the transformative power of education and the boundless opportunities that await them. This is the day to celebrate our shared legacy and reaffirm our commitment to making a positive impact in our communities and beyond.”

Following the convocation, a wreath-laying ceremony was held to honor the university’s founders, paying tribute to their vision and dedication. Guests then indulged in refreshments and cookies adorned with the president’s seal, while enjoying the music from the EWU Jazz Combo, creating a warm and convivial atmosphere.

President and CEO of EWU, A. Zachary Faison Jr., J.D., remarked, “Founder’s Day holds a special significance for our University community. It’s a time for us to reflect on our roots, honor the visionaries who laid the foundation for this institution, and celebrate the collective achievements of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”

EWU continues to uphold its legacy and nurture future leaders, events like the Founder’s Day Convocation serve as reminders of the University’s enduring impact and the transformative power of education.